Monday, December 12, 2011

Hunting Hood 4 - Mistidings and Misgivings

Cautiosly, on tip-toe, Hoodie approached the kitchen doorway. There was a noise coming from inside the kitchen. It was a low, animalian breathing sound. If Hoodie listened closely, she could make out the patters of the creature's paws tapping the ground as it paced around. And all the while, it was making a strange, snuffling kind of noise.
Fear turned Hoodie's heart to ice as she pictured in her mind's eye, a fearsome beast with claws of steel devouring her Grandma...

There was no time to lose! Grandma had to be rescued! A sudden burst of courage flowed through Hoodie's body, thawing the ice that froze her heart. Here in the forest, there wouldn't be anyone else around for a mile. Perhaps it wasn't too late. Perhaps Grandma could be saved. She had to act fast.
Hoodie looked down at her hands. The only thing she had with her that could be of any service in a rescue mission was the basket of flowers and mushroom she had under her arm. Shaking it into a more appropriate position, she grasped the handle with both hands and pulled it back.
Then, taking a deep breath, she charged into the kitchen, and with a loud cry, swung the basket with all her might at the hairy creature in the middle of the room.

Hoodie didn't even look where she was swinging as she yelled from the pit of her bravery, and several times the basket connected with her adversary. Then she noticed that something was slightly amiss. When she hit her opponent, it made a light squeal. Not at all the voice of a killer carnivore.
Hoodie opened her eyes, with her basket raised above her head. Trying to hide in the corner behind the stove was the supposed "horrible beast". It was nothing but an adolescent boar, from the forest. In the middle of the room was a bag of Grandma's apples, which the boar must have been eating.
Hoodie looked at the boar, then at the apples, then back to the boar again. Finally, fully and completely dejected, she threw the basket to the ground and collapsed into a sitting position on the floor. Then she covered her eyes with both hands, and with a loud sigh, lay down on the floor. The boar took this opportunity to scoot out the bashed front door, after which it disappeared into the forest.

Hoodie tried to calm herself down. Once she had done that, she tried to think. She had originally thought that whatever beast had broken down the door must have been in the kitchen, and her first instinct was that Grandma must be in trouble. But it turns out that the creature in the kitchen was nothing more than a petty theif, a scavenger, looting a bag of apples. So much for rescuing Grandma from the jaws of the wild animal. She had just gotten herself worked up for nothing. Grandma's going to come out at any minute, and she's going to be very upset when she finds the door broken down. And now the flowers that were meant for her are ruined too.
The contents of the basket had been strewn all over the room during the battle.

And yet... The boar wasn't a very big or strong one either. It wasn't even fully grown. An animal like that wouldn't have been able to break down Grandma's front door, would it?
Hoodie opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling.
Also, how would the boar have known that there was anything to eat in here? Boars do not, by nature, go around bashing down front doors.
Yes, the front door... The were scratch marks on the front door! The animal that broke down the door tried scratching at it first, then resorted to ramming it down! Boars have hooves. They couldn't have made those scratch marks!
Fear gripped Hoodie's heart anew. She sat upright and hugged her knees as she tried to think straight.
That's right, boars have hooves! But the tracks leading into the kitchen were paws!
Hoodie looked at the ground. She hadn't noticed it before, but there were two tracks on the floor. One set of them were the pawprints which had led Hoodie into the kitchen in the first place. The other set of prints were the hooves of the boar, which entered the kitchen, became a muddled mess where the board looted the apples, and then a track leading to the stove, then out the front door. But the set of pawprints went straight through the kitchen, without stopping once, and then...
...Went out the other end of the kitchen, leading to the living room, the library, and...
...Grandma's bedroom!

Hoodie began hyperventilating. She leapt to her feet. Whatever creature that had been able to break down the door was still in Grandma's home! Grandma must be in trouble!
Hoodie looked down at her hands. The only thing she had with her that could be of any service in a rescue mission was the unraveling basket containing a few mushed shrooms and departed petals. Hoodie wasn't sure if the boar was hurt, but the basket hadn't gotten away from the fight unscathed. She needed something to defend herself with.


It was another one of those days. Hoodie was paying a visit to Grandma. They spent the morning eating in the kitchen, as always. Today's breakfast was scones and strawberries, a delicacy they both enjoyed equally.
Grandma and Hoodie were chatting with each other peacably. Apparently, said Hoodie, a mother rabbit had recently given birth to a large family of rabbits nearby Hoodie's wood hut, and they had made their home where Hoodie could check on the frequently. Grandma smiled and commented how nice it must be to be able to get so close to animals. It must have something to do with Hoodie living among them for so long. The forest had taken her in as one of its own.

Hoodie blushed. She always felt a bit awkward about her "relationship with the forest". To hide her embarassment, she adjusted her seat. Just then, her right foot brushed against something irregularly shaped on the underside of the table surface. Hoodie paused for her moment and passed her foot under the table again. Underneath the table, she felt something curved in shape, seemingly glued to the bottom of the tabletop.

"Grandma, what's this under the table?"
"What? Oh... It's the bow that used to belong to my grandfather."
"You had a grandfather? What kind of bow is it?" Hoodie tried bending under the table to look up at the strange contraption hidden there.
Grandma gave a little laugh. "Of course I had a grandfather, dearie. Of course, that was a long time ago. When I was a little girl, my grandfather was an excellent bowman. Every Saturday, he would take that bow and a quiverful of custom-made arrows, and he would go to the archery range, where he contended against his friends. Don't do that, girl, you'll bump your head. Here, come up and I'll take the bow out for you to see."


Hoodie remembered that day. After she had come out from under the table, Grandma had reached under the table and clicked a latch, which held the bow to the underside of the table. Hoodie went to Grandma's side of the table, and reached under the table. She felt a small latch underneath it, holding the bow in its place. Carefully, she pushed it, and... click.


"There you are, then." Grandma pulled the longbow out from underneath the table. Hoodie couldn't tell what kind of wood it was made of, but its design was exquisite, in terms she could not express.
"Wow. Its very nice, Grandma." Hoodie could not take her eyes away from the bow.

Grandma started talking about how her grandfather had been an accurate shot with a bow and arrow, and he had taken several championships in competitions. The bow had actually been custom-made by himself. But all this was lost on Hoodie. She was mesmerized by the beauty and good condition of the object which, while designed to look fancy, was also designed to send an arrow into a target from a distance.

"Of course, these days I keep the bow underneath the table, where its safe from any pesky robbers, or bad weather. Its one of the few things I treasure in my old age." Grandma ran her hands along the woodwork for a while, then fastened the bow back under the table.

"Grandma, are you any good at archery?" Hoodie couldn't think of much else other than the longbow she had just seen.
"Well, of course I'm not great at it, but my grandfather did teach me how to use it, when I was little."
"But what could you use it for, Grandma?"
"You never know, little Hoodie. One day I might get attacked by some ferocious beast from the forest, and at least this old bow would give me something to defend myself with. There's a quiver of my grandfather's arrows in that cabinet there too."
"But Grandma, there aren't any ferocious beasts in the forest. Not this forest, anyway."
"Ooh, don't be too sure about that, Hoodie." Said Grandma, darkly. "One night, I looked out my window and saw a wolf prowling around outside my house. Really, a wolf! And it was even brave enough to come out of the forest and come near my house!"
"But Grandma, wolves aren't ferocious. There is no known record of any wolf attacking a man unprovoked."

Grandma smiled. "Ah? Well, I suppose you would know more about animals than I do. Still, its comforting to have a sort of weapon around the house. Anything might happen, you know."
Hoodie didn't know. But they continued their breakfast and didn't talk about that subject anymore.


The bow now in her hands, Hoodie went over to the cabinet in the corner of the kitchen and opened it. Sure enough, in the cabinet there was a quiver of arrows, each tipped with metal and with a white feather on the other end. They weren't very old, at least not as old as the bow. Grandma must have made the arrows herself.

Slinging the quiver over her shoulder and holding the bow under her arms, Hoodie went over to the other side of the kitchen. Now, she felt ready for anything. Whatever animal had broken down Grandma's front door must be very strong. On the other hand, Hoodie was holding the bow in her hands for the first time in her life. She looked down at it, and once again admired its beautiful woodwork.
And yet, she felt strangely attached to that curved piece of wood. Whether or not she was proficient with its use, its all she had to fight against the ferocious beast. Grandma was most certainly in trouble, and Hoodie was the only one who could save her.

Feeling the same courage that had enabled her to brain a wild boar with a basket of flowers, Hoodie discarded all fears, and followed the track of pawprints down the corridor which led to the living room, the library, and, eventually, Grandma's bedroom.


Aha! Now things are reaching the climax, yes? Now we are starting to see where Hunting Hood gets her name, yes? Hohoho!

Yeah.... I'm probably laughing at myself alone here.

Give me a break. I promised to give a few days of posts in a row, and look, I've done it. Well, yeah! It's still half an hour from midnight! Sighs... And here I am, yelling at myself alone for imposing something so difficult on myself.

Ahem! Don't worry about it! I'm just being a worrywart again. There's just one element of writing that seems to constantly escape my grasp, and I continuously fail to catch a firm grip of it and force it down onto my blank sheet. Well, screen. Either way, I hope my story is not a pain to read.

Anyways, if you don't like the story, you can always jump down to the bottom, where you see a long line of asterisks', and the text stops becoming so annoyingly squiggly and slanted. Yeah, I should probably fix that. Anyhoo, What I mean to say is, aside from the story my blog still contains infos about my daily activities and whatnot, and if it wasn't here, then, What is bloggin all about, then, eh?!

Sorry. Its getting late. I should really get to bed soon. BUT, not before I deliver the good news!
As I have been complaining about these past few weeks, the school magazine has been taking forever to finish, because of a dozen and one problems, the details of which are not worth delving into. HOWEVER, it's over now! This morning (wow, how long ago was that), the other sub-editor went to the printing company together with the finalized version of the school magazine, and they've accepted it without asking us to change everything! Well, alright, received but not accepted. They're still unsatisfied with a few things, but I suppose they've basically given up on use being able to do anything right, because they're going to patch up all the holes for us. After that, its in with the blank ten-half-seven-half-inch pages, and out with the school magazine! In other words, they can print it! In even more other words, all my work is done and gone with! All that remains is to wait for the lot of school magazines to be sent to the school, after which everyone can critisize our terrible design as much as they want. Merdeka, and so on and so forth. (Merdeka - noun, in Malaysianese, meaning "Independence". Can also be taken to mean "Freedom".)

There are a whole lot of other things that deserve to be told about, but its getting too late in the night for any of that.

My dreams have been getting very vague these days, and I have trouble remembering them when I wake up. A sure sign that I've been playing too much video games. Yeah, I have my ways.

I'm pretty much making up these titles as I go along. They don't necessarily have to make sense, so long as they sound nice.

This is the fith day of the blog-everyday run, and I think I'll end it here. Or tomorrow. Let's see which way the wind blows. Or something.

I need to time myself better, allocating less time for video-games and more time for non-video-games. A timetable would help, but then again, ITS HOLIDAYS, DAGNABIT.

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